|Gasol and Nash could return soon. (Getty Images)|
The good news for L.A. is that Gasol might play this week. Even with his struggles this year, that would give the Lakers a big boost at both ends.
Maybe the best news? Steve Nash -- you remember him -- could be on his way back along with Gasol as early as this week.
“I think it's possible,” said the coach. “I wouldn't put my reputation on it, but, it's possible.”
Nash, who suffered a non-displaced fracture in his left leg on Oct. 31 at Portland, won't play in Sunday's game against Utah at Staples Center.
The veteran has been ramping up work outs with Lakers strength and conditioning coach Tim DiFrancesco of late, much to DiFrancesco's liking.
“I'm really excited with the progress that he's feeling and I'm seeing at this point, in certain lower body based exercises that even a week ago were not possible,” said DiFrancesco. “I finally feel like we're seeing some beams of light at the end of this tunnel, and that's exciting. Nobody has been more frustrated or wanted to be back on that court than him.”
Nash's return will be as anticipated as Dwight Howard's debut back in October. Nash is expected to solve most of the Lakers' problems, outside of defense (which has been a beautiful mess as of late despite a pretty stellar offensive rating).
How exactly he's going to solve Howard's energy or rotations or improve a bench unit that has been an outright mess is to be seen. But Gasol, in particular, should benefit the most from the Canadian former-MVP's return. Nash made it clear this week that a condition of his agreeing to sign with the Lakers last summer was Gasol being around. He wants to play with Gasol. The question will be if Gasol's body and mind will allow him to reward Nash's confidence.
Gasol's body has not been right, but the problems go well beyond his knees.